TWN-Africa has twenty-one, highly qualified, experienced and motivated members of staff.
TWN-Africa’s work has been conducted through a combination of strategies:
1) Information dissemination on issues of African and Southern interest;
Through its programme areas - political economy, gender and environment - a coordinated analysis and focused research and policy advocacy framework has been defined.
The Political Economy Unit’s work is united around the issues of trade, investment and Africa’s economic development needs in the era of the new international trade and investment regime. The unit seeks to: make the international trade and investment regime, including the WTO respond more sensitive to the needs of African countries; promote equity in international trade and investment; and develop a framework for Africa’s developmental agenda.
The high recognition gained by TWN-Africa’s economic policy work is exemplified by it being invited by the UN-ECA to be a founding member of the Africa Knowledge Network Forum (AKNF), a pan-African grouping of research and knowledge generating organizations initiated by the ECA to enhance the interaction between African intellectuals and policy makers. Also TWN-Africa is one of the organizations participating in the design of UNDP’s proposed new Report on Trade and related activities.
The Political Economy unit co-ordinates the Africa Trade Network which was established in 1998 by TWN-Africa, and has 25 members from 15 countries in Africa. The ATN, which has observer status with the OAU and the UN-ECA and strong relations with UNCTAD, has been a key vehicle for TWN-Africa’s work on issues of trade and investment policy in Africa. Through the ATN, TWN-Africa has given training to and provided information on trade policy matters to several civil society organisations, and mobilised African civil society participation in the international mobilisation on the WTO. It was also a key vehicle in organising the lobby and campaign by African civil society groups around the Seattle WTO Ministerial Conference. The ATN has observer status with the Organisation of African Unity, and has provided a means of increased interaction between civil society groups and African governments, including the annual Conference of African Ministers of Trade.
The Gender Unit: aims to ensure the integration of gender equity and equality in TWN-Africa’s overall programme work; and participate in, and bring TWN’s perspectives to campaigns around policy issues on gender equity and equality on the continent. The Unit also participates and collaborates with various African Women’s Networks, in order to strengthen them and bring TWN’s specific expertise and work on economic policy issues to the women’s movement.
The Environment Unit’s programme strongly reflects the uniting theme of “Globalisation and Africa” as it pertains to the impact on the environment and sustainable development. In particular, it has identified the extractive sector (mining, including petroleum, forestry and fisheries) as the critical area where the impact of F.D.I and the key forces of globalisation contribute to environmental degradation and social conflict in Africa. The Unit led the creation and coordinates AIMES (African Initiative on Mining Environment and Society), a pioneering effort to draw together civil society organisations, across Africa, involved in advocacy on mining issues.
A TWN-Africa book based on a path breaking study on the impact of the gold boom in Ghana’s Western Region has just been published. The unit is supporting the development of community based organisations of thousands of Ghanaian villagers affected by gold mining in three of the countries ten regions. It also collaborates with a legal aid NGO to support litigation for compensation brought by hundreds of farmers against a number of mining companies in Ghana. TWN-Africa is also supporting the capacity building of NGOs interested in mining issues in Sierra Leone. At the international level the unit has active links with advocacy groups around the world, especially in the home countries of companies engaged in mining in Africa.
GERA Programme: TWN-Africa is the Secretariat for GERA (Gender and Economic Reforms in Africa) programme. GERA is a pan-African research and advocacy programme established in 1996 by women from across Africa in order to influence economic policies and decision-making processes in Africa from a gender perspective. Committed to gender equality and economic justice, the programme supports African women to undertake a variety of African-designed policy research and advocacy projects that meet country and region-specific needs. Since 1996, GERA has supported 16 action-research projects in 11 sub-Saharan African countries.
TWN-Africa was selected as the GERA Secretariat by GERA’s all African Steering Committee through an open and competitive selection process. The moving of the Secretariat to TWN-Africa marks the beginning of Phase II of GERA. It has a new focus on emerging issues of trade and investment in Africa in order to analyse the impacts of trade and investment policies on women and gender relations, and to generate and lobby for alternatives that support gender equality and sustainable livelihoods in Africa.
Social Watch: is an international civil society effort to monitor the progress made by governments in fulfilling commitments made at the Social Summit and Beijing Fourth World Conference on Women in 1995. TWN-Africa coordinates the Ghana country process, and serves as the focal point for Africa-wide consultation with civil society organisations around the Social Watch project.
TWN-Africa hosts and participates in the work of a NETRIGHT (Network for Women's Rights in Ghana), an advocacy group of Ghanaian civil society organizations, academics and activists that promotes women's rights. It also coordinates the Africa section of SOCIAL WATCH, an international NGO watchdog network that monitors poverty eradication and gender equality around the world and publishes an annual review.
African Agenda: is a bi-monthly magazine in English with lead articles translated into French. African Agenda published since 1994 reflects TWN’s concerns and campaigns around issues of economic policy, sustainable development, trade and investment, gender, environment, politics, culture and civil society. African Agenda provides cutting-edge analysis on economic and social issues.
Communications Unit: The Communications Unit is charged with the of preparation and dissemination of TWN-Africa’s advocacy output through electronic and printed means as well as being responsible to help in the design and implementation of advocacy campaigns by programme officer
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